The Cubs have one of the best young position player cores in all of baseball that is led by a grizzled veteran, the 26-year old Anthony Rizzo.
Anthony Rizzo was often overlooked by the media this past season but received the acknowledgement he deserved when he finished fourth in the voting for National League Most Valuable Player. Rizzo has made himself into one of the best players in baseball.
Defensively, Rizzo is better at first base than he’s given credit for and offensively, he put together another good season at the plate. Rizzo batted .278/.387/.512 with 38 doubles, three triples and 31 home runs for a .899 OPS.
Buster Olney ranked Rizzo as the fourth best first baseman in the game. Olney said, “It was only four years ago that rival evaluators were concerned Rizzo would be overpowered in his career by inside fastballs.” Rizzo moved closer to the plate at the urging of now assistant hitting coach Eric Hinske and he’s played in the All-Star Game the past two years.
According to Olney the top 10 first basemen in baseball are Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Anthony Rizzo, Chris Davis, Eric Hosmer, Jose Abreu, Adrian Gonzalez, Freddie Freeman and Mark Teixeira or Albert Pujols. Olney could not decide which veteran first baseman, Teixeira or Pujols, should be No. 10 on his list.
Arismendy Alcantara is probably looking very forward to the New Year because 2015 has not been very kind to him on the baseball field.
Alcantara started the season with the big league club. Alcantara played in 11 games and hit just .077/.226/.077 before he was sent to Triple-A Iowa for what turned out to be the rest of the year.
Outside of a good May in which he hit .281/.346/.491 in 29 games, Alcantara could not get on track with Iowa. Alcantara finished the season with the I-Cubs and hit .231/.285/.399 with 20 doubles, 10 triples and 12 home runs for a .683 OPS. Alcantara struck out 125 times in 120 games with 35 walks.
Arismendy Alcantara is playing Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic and had good night Wednesday in Licey’s 11-0 victory. Alcantara went 4-for-4 with a triple, a walk, two runs scored and two RBI.
Alcantara has played in 22 games for Tigres del Licey this winter. He is batting .218/.295/.385 with three doubles, five triples and a .680 OPS. Alcantara has walked nine times with 20 strikeouts in 78 at bats. And he’s hitting about the same from the right side (.212/.289/.364) and the left (.222/.300/.400).
The Cubs believe Alcantara will be able to get his career back on track. He’s only 24 years old and has too much talent to play the way he has this year. With that said, Spring Training will be extremely important for Arismendy Alcantara whether it’s with the Cubs or another team.
News, Notes and Rumors
• John Tomase examined who should be the next Red Sox Ace, David Price or Zack Greinke.
• The Cubs continue to shore up the bullpen with the addition of lefty Rex Brothers according to the Tribune.
• Paul Hoynes answered questions about the Indians’ off-season plans. The Cubs and Indians continued to be connected as possible trade partners this winter.
• According to Paul Sullivan, bringing back Jeff Samardzija is a good risk for the Cubs at the right price. There is obviously mutual interest in a reunion, but Samardzija is garnering a lot of interest and still has to at least talk to the Giants, Yankees and Diamondbacks before making any decisions.
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Scott Feldman
2001 – Cubs signed free agent Mickey Lopez
2000 – Cubs released Micah Bowie
2000 – Cubs released Jose Molina
2000 – Cubs released Jerry Spradlin
1996 – Eloy Jimenez, born
1996 – Cubs signed free agent Ryne Sandberg
1983 – Jason Berken, born
1961 – Cubs selected George Gerberman from the Braves in the First-Year Draft
1961 – Cubs traded Jerry Kindall to the Indians for Bobby Locke
1955 – Cubs selected Monte Irvin from the Giants in the Rule 5 Draft
1955 – Cubs selected Vito Valentinetti from Toronto of the International League in the Rule 5 Draft
1955 – Cubs selected Johnny Goryl from the Orioles in the Minor League Draft
1944 – Ron Tompkins, born
1923 – Bob Schultz, born
1920 – Johnny Schmitz, born